Today's plant tag might look like this hypothetical
Golden Sparkles Sunflower
Helianthus annuus 'Shimmer'
Asexual propagation prohibited by law
To decipher these various names, trademarks and patents,
we need to understand that horticulture has a foot in
both the science and commerce worlds.
On the science side, wild plants are given names in
an internationally agreed upon way, based on a system
that Swedish scientist, Carolus Linnaeus (1707-78),
is credited with creating. Today, the International
Code of Botanical Nomenclature governs this system.
Under this code, a plant's genus name (which is usually
in Latin, capitalized and italicized) and species name
(Latin, italicized, but not capitalized) form the plant's
scientific name. In the example above, Helianthus annuus
is the scientific name.
there is a third word (not in Latin, not italicized, but
enclosed in single quotation marks) it identifies the
cultivar, short for cultivated (i.e., not wild) variety.
In the example, it's 'Shimmer'. This is where we start
to move from science into commerce.